University of Notre Dame

Center for Italian Studies


Summer Seminar 2013: Faculty


The program is coordinated by a scientific committee that also includes

Speakers and Seminar Leaders

Piero Boitani (University of Rome "La Sapienza")                                                   

Brian Daley (University of Notre Dame)

William Franke (Vanderbilt University)

Peter Hawkins (Yale University)

Robin Kirkpatrick (University of Cambridge)

Giuseppe Ledda (University of Bologna)

Giuseppe Mazzotta (Yale University)

Brian Reynolds (Fu Jen University)

Janet Soskice (University of Cambridge)

Denys Turner (Yale University)


Piero Boitani

Professor of Comparative Literature, The University of Rome "La Sapienza"

Piero Boitani headshot - photo

Professor Boitani has authored numerous books, most recently Il grande racconto delle stelle (2012); Dante e il suo futuro will be published in 2013. He has received the Feltrinelli Prize for Literary Criticism and the De Sanctis Prize. He is the Literary Editor of the Greek and Latin classics series, and the Deputy Chairman of the Fondazione Valla. With degrees from the University of Rome “Sapienza” (Laurea in Lettere, 1971), Wittenberg University (BA), and Cambridge (PhD), he has taught Italian, English and American Literature at the Universities of Cambridge, Pescara, Perugia and at “Sapienza,” where he has been department chair. He is Chair of Comparative Literature at the University of Italian Switzerland in Lugano. He was President of the European Society for English Studies, and he is a Fellow of the British Academy, the Academia Europaea, the Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Accademia delle Scienze di Torino, the Accademia dell’Arcadia, the Medieval Academy of America, the Dante Society of America, the Accademia dei Lincei and the Arts and Humanities Advisor to the American Academy in Rome.


Joseph A. Buttigieg

Joseph A

William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of English, Director, Ph.D. in Literature Program, University of Notre Dame

Joseph A. Buttigieg's main interests are modern literature, critical theory, and the relationship between culture and politics. He is the editor and translator of the multi-volume complete critical edition of Antonio Gramsci's Prison Notebooks, and a founding member and executive secretary of the International Gramsci Society. The Italian Minister of Culture appointed him to a commission of experts to oversee the preparation of the "edizione nazionale" of Gramsci's writings.


Theodore J. Cachey Jr.

Theodore J

Professor of Italian and Chair, Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, University of Notre Dame

Theodore Cachey is professor and chair of the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures at the University of Notre Dame.  He specializes in Italian Medieval and Renaissance literature. Among the books he has authored, edited and co-edited include Le isole fortunate (1994); Pigafetta's First Voyage Around the World (1995, 2007); Dante Now (1995); Petrarch's Guide to the Holy Land (2002), Le culture di Dante (2004), Dante and Petrarch: Anti-dantism, Metaphysics, Tradition (2009). His essays have appeared in Annali d'ItalianisticaBelfagorCalifornia Italian StudiesIntersezioniThe Italianist, ItalicaThe History of CartographyModern Language NotesSchede umanistiche, and Rivista di letteratura italiana.

Brian E. Daley, SJ

Catherine F. Huisking Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

Brian E

Graduating from Fordham University in 1961, Fr. Daley then read Literae Humaniores at Merton College, Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar before entering the Society of Jesus. After theological studies in Frankfurt and ordination to the priesthood, he completed a DPhil in the Faculty of Theology at Oxford. He taught historical theology at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, MA before moving to Notre Dame in 1996. He is the author of The Hope of the Early Church, On the Dormition of Mary: Early Patristic Homilies and Gregory of Nazianzus, as well as many articles. He is the translator of Hans Urs von Balthasar, Cosmic Liturgy: The Universe according to Maximus the Confessor. He is the executive secretary of the Catholic-Orthodox Consultation for North America, and a member of the editorial boards of several scholarly journals. He has served as a trustee of Le Moyne College, Boston College, and Fordham and Georgetown Universities. He is the first Jesuit and the first American to be awarded the Ratzinger Prize in Theology, which he received in 2012. 


William Franke

Professor of Comparative Literature, Italian, and Religious Studies, Vanderbilt University and Professor of Philosophy and Religions, University of Macao

William Franke photo

William Franke is Professor of Comparative Literature, Italian, and Religious Studies at Vanderbilt University and Professor of Philosophy and Religions at the University of Macao.  He is a research fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt-Stiftung and has been Fulbright-University of Salzburg Distinguished Chair in Intercultural Theology and Study of Religions. His books include Dante and the Sense of Transgression: ‘The Trespass of the Sign’ (Continuum: New Directions in Literature and Religion, 2013), Poetry and Apocalypse: Theological Disclosures of Poetic Language (Stanford University Press, 2009), Dante’s Interpretive Journey (University of Chicago Press, Religion and Postmodernism, 1996), and On What Cannot Be Said: Apophatic Discourses in Philosophy, Religion, Literature and the Arts (University of Notre Dame Press, 2007). Forthcoming in 2013 is A Philosophy of the Unsayable (University of Notre Dame Press).


Peter Hawkins

Peter Hawkins photo

Professor of Religion and Literature, Yale University

Peter S. Hawkins, Professor of Religion and Literature at Yale Divinity School, has long centered his work on Dante: Dante’s Testaments: Essays on Scriptural Imagination (winner of a 2001 AAR Book Prize), The Poets’ Dante: Twentieth-Century Reflections (2001), co-edited with Rachel Jacoff, Dante: A Brief History (2006), and Undiscovered Country: Imagining the World to Come (2009). His research in the history of biblical reception has led to three co-edited volumes to which he also contributed essays, Scrolls of Love: Ruth and the Song of Songs (2006), Medieval Readings of Romans (2007), and From the Margin I: Women of the Hebrew Bible and their Afterlives (2009). From 2000 to 2008 he directed the Luce Program in Scripture and Literary Arts at Boston University.


Robin Kirkpatrick

Emeritus Professor of Italian and English Literature, Robinson College, Cambridge University

Robin Kirkpatrick is Emeritus Professor of Italian and English Literature at Cambridge University. He has written a number of books on Dante and on the Renaissance, including a verse translation of the Commedia with notes and commentary (Penguin Classics, 2006-7); “Afterlives now: A study of Paradiso Canto 28” in Envisaging Heaven in the Middle Ages, ed. by C. Muessig and A. Putter (Routledge, 2007); The European Renaissance, 1400 – 1600: Arts, Culture and Society in the Western World (Longman, 2002); and English and Italian Literature From Dante to Shakespeare: A Study of Source, Analogue and Divergence (Longman, 1995). He is particularly interested in the relationship between Italian and English literature from 1300 to 1600 and in the Modern Period.

Giuseppe Ledda

Ricercatore of Italian Literature, University of Bologna

Giuseppe Ledda is ‘Ricercatore’ of Italian Literature at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities (‘Lettere’), at the University of Bologna (2008-), where he teaches Dantean Literature and Criticism. His main research field is Dante and medieval literature. His recent publications include Dante (Bologna: il Mulino, 2008) and La guerra della lingua: Ineffabilità, retorica e narrativa nella Commedia di Dante (Ravenna, Longo, 2002). He has also recently edited: Dalle origini al Cinquecento, nella La letteratura italiana diretta da Ezio Raimondi, Milano, Bruno Mondadori, 2007 (with L. Chines, G. Forni, E. Menetti); Il Medioevo, ed. by U. Eco, (Milan: Motta Editore, 2009) (coeditor of the section “Letteratura”, with E. Raimondi, M. Mazzocchi); La poesia della natura nella Divina Commedia (Ravenna: Centro Dantesco dei Frati Minori Conventuali, 2009); La Bibbia di Dante. Esperienza mistica, profezia e teologia biblica in Dante (Ravenna, Centro Dantesco dei Frati Minori Conventuali, 2011); and Preghiera e liturgia nella Commedia di Dante (Ravenna, Centro Dantesco, forthcoming).


Giuseppe Mazzotta

Sterling Professor of Humanities for Italian, Yale University


Professor Mazzotta is the Chair of the Italian Department as well as the Sterling Professor of Humanities and the Director of Graduate Studies for Italian at Yale. He has written a number of essays about every century of Italian literary history. He served as president of the Dante Society of America (2003-2009). His books include: Dante, Poet of the Desert: History and Allegory in the Divine Comedy (Princeton, 1979); The World at Play in Boccaccio's Decameron (Princeton, 1986); Dante's Vision and the Circle of Knowledge (Princeton, 1993); The Worlds of Petrarch (Duke UP, 193); The New Map of the World: the Poetic Philosophy of Giambattista Vico (Princeton, 1998; Turin: Einaudi, 2001); Cosmopoiesis: The Renaissance Experiment (Toronto UP, 2001; Palermo: Sellerio 2008). He has also edited and co-edited several books, such as Critical Essays on Dante (Hall, 1991) and Master Regis (Fordham UP, 1985). In 2008, he published the Norton edition of Dante's Inferno (translated by M. Palma). In 2013 the Edizioni di Storia e letteratura (Rome) will publish a selection of his Italian essays on Dante, Dante alle Frontiere del Pensiero: Limiti e grandezza dell’umano. In the same year, Yale University Press will publish his Lectures on Dante for the Open Yale Courses series.


Christian Moevs

Associate Professor of Italian, Notre Dame

Christian Moevs - headshot

Professor Moevs's interests include Dante, medieval Italian literature, lyric poetry and poetics, and the intersection between literature and philosophy (especially metaphysics and medieval philosophy). He is co-editor of the Devers Series in Dante Studies, and a fellow of the Medieval Institute. He is on the editorial board of Dante Studies and The Electronic Bulletin of the Dante Society of America, and chair of the Executive Committee on Medieval and Renaissance Italian Literature of the MLA. His The Metaphysics of Dante's Comedy (Oxford UP and American Academy of Religion, 2005) won the Modern Language Association's Marraro Prize for Italian Studies, and the American Association for Italian Studies Prize for the best book of 2005. He is currently working on a book on Dante and the medieval contemplative (mystical) tradition, for which he has won a second NEH Fellowship.


Vittorio Montemaggi


Assistant Professor of Religion and Literature

Professor Montemaggi's interests include the relationship between literary and theological reflection, the relationship between language, truth and love, and the interconnections between the question of the relationship between theism and atheism and that of the relationship between tragedy and comedy. To date, his published work has focused primarily on Dante's Commedia, while his current research also comparatively explores, alongside the work of Dante, that of Primo Levi, Roberto Benigni, Shakespeare, Dostoevsky, Augustine and Aquinas. His recent publications include: Dante's Commedia: Theology as Poetry (co-edited with Matthew Treherne, University of Notre Dame Press, 2010).


Brian Reynolds

Professor of Italian, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taipei

Brian Reynolds photo

Brian Reynolds graduated in Italian from University College Dublin and went on to carry out his postgraduate studies at Trinity College Dublin. He has been on the faculty of the Department of Italian Language and Culture, Fu Jen Catholic University, Taipei, since 1998, and has also taught at Trinity College Dublin, University College Dublin, and Università degli studi, Bari. Professor Reynolds’ interests include Dante, Medieval Italian literature, and Mariology (and their intersections). He has written a number of articles on the Virgin in the Commedia, as well as a major study on Mary, Gateway to Heaven: Marian Doctrine and Devotion in the Patristic and Medieval Periods. He is currently working on the second volume, which will deal with Marian image, imagery and typology, and is also engaged in a project sponsored by the government of Taiwan in which he is exploring the relationship between the courtly lady and the Virgin.


Janet M. Soskice 

Professor of Philosophical Theology, Faculty of Divinity, and Fellow of Jesus College, University of Cambridge


Professor Soskice specializes in Philosophy of religion, especially religious language, philosophical theology and Naming God. She is the author of Metaphor and Religious Language (Oxford University Press, 1984); The Kindness of God (Oxford, 2007) and has edited (with Grant Gillett and K.W. Fulford) Medicine and Moral Reasoning (Cambridge University Press, 1994); with Diana Lipton, Feminism and Theology, Oxford Readings in Feminism (Oxford, 2003) and with Carlo Cogliati, David Burrell, and W. Stoeger, Creation and the God of Abraham (Cambridge, 2010). Her recent Sisters of Sinai: How Two Lady Adventurers Discovered the Lost Gospels (London: Chatto; New York: Knopf, 2009) was Book of the Week on Radio 4, and was in the Best Books of the Year lists of the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor and the Library Journal. She is a Patron of the Westminster College Appeal, a Trustee of the Tablet and an Honorary Fellow of Blackfriars, Oxford.


Matthew Treherne

Senior Lecturer in Italian, Director of the Leeds Humanities Institute, Leeds University

Matthew Treherne - head shot - photo

Matthew Treherne’s research focuses on Dante and Tasso, although he has also worked on pastoral drama and on the works of Toni Morrison. He recently completed a manuscript on Dante's use of the sacraments and liturgy in the Commedia, and he has co-edited two books: Dante's "Commedia:" Theology as Poetry (University of Notre Dame Press, 2010) with Vittorio Montemaggi; and Forms of Faith in Sixteenth-Century Italy (Ashgate, 2009) with Abigail Brundin. He is the Principal Investigator on the AHRC-funded project, "Dante and Late Medieval Florence: Theology in Poetry, Practice and Society," and in 2007 he co-founded the Leeds Centre for Dante Studies with Claire Honess, the aim of which is to support research, teaching and public understanding of Dante. In 2007, he won the Faculty of Arts Development Teaching Prize, and he received a University Teaching Fellowship developmental award. He is Director of the Leeds Humanities Research Institute (LHRI).


Denys Turner

Horace Tracy Pitkin Professor of Historical Theology, Professor of Religion in the Department of Religious Studies


Professor Turner has taught on a wide range of subjects, including contemporary philosophy of religion, metaphysics, ethics, political and social theory, medieval philosophy and theology, and the history of medieval mysticism. His research focuses on traditions of Western Christian mysticism, particularly on doctrines of selfhood and religious language, links between the classical traditions of spirituality and mysticism, and the social and political commitments of Christianity. He has written numerous books and articles, most recently Faith, Reason, and the Existence of God; Faith Seeking; The Darkness of God; and Eros and Allegory. He has served as a member of the Executive Committee of the Catholic Institute for International Relations, the Anglican Roman Catholic Commission for England, as well as on the Committee for the World of Work and the Laity Commission of the Roman Catholic Conference of Bishops of England and Wales. Prior to his appointment at Yale, Professor Turner served as the Norris-Hulse Professor of Divinity at Cambridge University.